In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, President Mohammed Morsi, right, poses for a photograph with his new Prosecutor General, Talaat Abdullah, left, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Egypt’s president on Thursday issued constitutional amendments granting himself far-reaching powers and ordering the retrial of leaders of Hosni Mubarak’s regime for the killing of protesters in last year’s uprising. Morsi also on Thursday fired the country’s top prosecutor by decreeing with immediate effect that he could only stay in office for four years and replacing him with Talaat Abdullah. Morsi fired Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud for the first time in October, but had to rescind his decision when he found that the powers of his office do not empower him to do so. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s Islamist president unilaterally decreed greater authorities for himself Thursday and effectively neutralized a judicial system that had emerged as a key opponent by declaring that the courts are barred from challenging his decisions.
Riding high on U.S. and international praise for mediating a Gaza cease-fire, Mohammed Morsi put himself above oversight and gave protection to the Islamist-led assembly writing a new constitution from a looming threat of dissolution by court order.
But the move is likely to fuel growing public anger that he and his Muslim Brotherhood are seizing too much power.
In what was interpreted by rights activists as a de facto declaration of emergency law, one of Morsi’s decrees gave him the power to take “due measures and steps” to deal with any “threat” to the revolution, national unity and safety or anything that obstructs the work of state institutions.
Morsi framed his decisions as necessary to protect the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago and to cement the nation’s transition to democratic rule. Many activists, including opponents of the Brotherhood, criticize the judiciary as packed with judges and prosecutors sympathetic to Mubarak. Brotherhood supporters accuse the courts of trying to block their agenda.
“He had to act to save the country and protect the course of the revolution,” said one of Morsi’s aides, Pakinam al-Sharqawi, speaking on Al-Jazeera. “It is a major stage in the process of completing the January 25th revolution,” she Login to read more